A Boy Scout volunteer will spend some of his retirement biking 4,300 miles across 10 states to raise money to send scouts to summer camp.

Don Harter, 62, heard about the Trans Am Bike Race three years ago when he read about a 73-year-old cyclist. He decided he would do it once he retired from being an operations specialist at the MU power plant. Harter was at a leaders meeting when it was suggested he ride his bike to raise money for the scouts.

Development Director Greg Baker said Harter reached out two months ago about donating the money he raised to the Boy Scouts Great Rivers Council. Baker set up a web page for donations collected from the ride. Harter’s goal is to raise $1 per mile.

“We are delighted that Don chose us to do this,” Baker said. “I think it is remarkable that he is leaving a few weeks after he retires for this trip. We are proud of him as a volunteer and that he would choose us to benefit.”

Harter retired May 11, and the race begins June 2.

The Great Rivers Council has been in contact with their counterparts in other states.

“We thought it would be neat if other councils as he is traveling through let their units know that this scouter is doing a cross-country trip and they can ride along with him,” Baker said.

Harter’s wife, Joyce, said one challenge for him as he prepared for the race was learning to use a smartphone. Joyce bought him one so he can send updates and pictures from his ride. He has had to learn how to type, take pictures and attach them in an email.

“That was a little challenging for Donald, but he is doing good with that,” Joyce said.

Harter will write posts in an email and send it to Baker, who then will post the update on the web page.

Harter always has enjoyed riding bikes. He started biking more when he was in the Navy and borrowed his roommate’s bike when his car broke down. He decided to get a bike when he moved to Charleston, South Carolina.

“I got involved with the bicycle club down there, and it just kind of took off from there,” Harter said.

He decided to ride his bike home to Missouri when he was on leave. Before this upcoming race, his longest ride was from Maine to Missouri, which is about 1,500 miles.

Harter also will be riding to raise money for the Enlace group, an organization that works in El Salvador and Nepal to help develop rural and under-served communities.

Harter hopes to raise $1 per mile for this group as well.

“If I really got ambitious, maybe I can get up to a dollar a mile per group which would be $4,300,” he said. “That would keep me motivated, keep me pedaling.”

Supervising editor is Sky Chadde.

  • General Assignment reporter, summer 2018 Studying science and agricultural journalism Reach me at mjrmg7@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

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